Electronic portable ball vaporizer? It's certainly an interesting concept, but does the 2-Con do the idea justice? Let's dive in and find out whether this vaporizer is worth rolling the dice on or not.
The 2-Con Unwrapped: Initial Overview
The 2-Con vaporizer from End Game Labs brings the hype surrounding the ball vape concept into a portable format, with a few unique twists. It features dual heaters and an adjustable capacity glass stem that includes a built-in water pipe adapter, providing considerable flexibility. Additionally, it operates on a user-replaceable and removable 21700 battery. Packaged in an attractive case, the 2-Con offers a good initial impression, but as we dig deeper you’ll see things get a little more complex.
Effortless Initiation: Streamlining Your 2-Con Experience
Operating the 2-Con is a little fiddly at first, but this just seems to be due to the simplistic user interface combined with the dual heaters. However, once you mess with it a bit it’s easy to get a handle on and it becomes quickly apparent it’s not that complicated. To activate the device, press the main button five times rapidly. Triggering the convection heater requires three rapid presses, while two rapid presses enter the settings to adjust the temperatures for both heaters. During use, holding the main button activates the conduction heater. While this might sound complex, in practice, it's much simpler to grasp.
Financial Considerations: Weighing the 2-Con's Cost vs. Benefits
The 2-Con is priced relatively inexpensively; it's not the cheapest vaporizer, but given its features and inclusions, it's at a reasonable price point. However, you need to consider the quality of the device and the materials used, which can complicate the evaluation. If you're considering buying one, seeing it in person is advisable to get the best idea of what to expect.
A Closer Look: Build Quality & Quality Control Concerns
The concept and design of the 2-Con had a lot of potential, but unfortunately, it seems they've tried to build it as cheaply as possible. The glass components feel fragile enough that even normal handling raises concerns about them cracking. Aluminum is used extensively, including for building the water pipe adapter (which is quite disappointing, at least using stainless steel here would have made a notable difference to the overall build), and the buttons rattle. It's harsh to say, but handling this device feels reminiscent of a cheap, off-brand DVD player from the early 2000s.
Interestingly, the storage case it comes with is quite nice, possibly included to enhance first impressions, which it does effectively. It’s almost frustrating how a genuinely good idea has been executed with only the bare minimum effort. At the time of writing, they already appear to be working on a follow-up for the 2-Con, the most significant improvement would be upgrading the material quality, whether they do this or not only time will tell. There’s so much potential here, it just feels a little squandered.
Additionally, we have some concerns about quality control, really this is probably the biggest concern with this device. One unit we examined had a chunk of what appeared to be glue or melted plastic among the balls, causing several to stick together. While this might be an isolated issue, this device was also initially released with a component made of a synthetic stone or similar material that emitted extremely unpleasant odors when heated. This has been replaced in newer units with a ceramic part, but it raises questions about how such a flaw passed initial testing. It's also hard not to wonder what other shortcuts were taken or things there are on a lower level to be concerned about.
Innovative Integration: The 2-Con's Synergy with Water Pipes
The 2-Con is clearly designed with water pipes and bubblers in mind, featuring a built-in water pipe adapter that also serves as a stabilizer for the glass stem. Although it appears they opted for a cheaper aluminum construction, the adapter offers compatibility with both 14mm and 18mm joints. The 2-Con performs best when used with water; while it can be used natively, the experience isn’t as satisfying and can get a little harsh at warmer temps. However, if you're concerned about compatibility with your existing glass collection, the 2-Con should pose no issues in that regard.
The 2-Con on the Road: Navigating its Portability
The form factor of the 2-Con implies great portability. However, the glass stem and other glass components seem quite fragile, so while carrying it in your pocket is doable, it's certainly not ideal. Fortunately, the included case makes it easy to transport in a bag or take to a friend's house. Therefore, the 2-Con does offer some portability, but it really depends on your risk profile and what you're comfortable with.
Power Dynamics: Navigating the 2-Con's Battery Life
Battery life with the 2-Con is somewhat inconsistent due to the varying ways the device can be used. On average, you can expect about six sessions from a full charge. The device uses a single, user-replaceable 21700 battery, which is readily available, making it easy to source a spare. This is especially useful if you often find yourself running out of charge during the day, or if you want a backup to use while the other charges. Overall, the battery life is satisfactory, and choosing the relatively large 21700 battery over the more common 18650 was a wise decision.
Keeping It Clean: Maintaining the 2-Con
The 2-Con does quite well in terms of cleaning and maintenance. This isn't because it's the easiest device to clean, but rather because you can disassemble much of it. This allows thorough cleaning, even of the balls in the heater, which are replaceable – a really nice feature.
For those who do decide to get a 2-Con, we strongly recommend thoroughly cleaning the glass stem, screens, balls, mouthpiece, etc., before the first use, along with performing a burn-off cycle at high temperatures. While this is always advisable, with the 2-Con it's particularly important, as it tended to be rather dirty out of the box. For instance, a cotton swab rubbed inside the mouthpiece of a brand-new unit picked up a significant amount of black residue. So, it's crucial to clean everything thoroughly if you acquire one of these devices.
Critical Examination: Scrutinizing the 2-Con's Vapor Production
The 2-Con does a decent job at producing vapor, thanks to the robust dual heaters there’s plenty of heat to throw at your material, and as you can use both heaters at the same time for a hybrid heating experience you can get quite a decent even roast after spending some time to get things dialed in based on your preferences.
It can be a little harsh when using it directly and trying to push it with higher temps, but when paired with a water piece you can push things a lot further without discomfort. Part of what seems to help the conduction heater to be a little more effective is the thin glass used in the stem, so at least there is some benefit to them using such thin glass here. Overall, the vapor production here is excellent, it’s really hard to argue with it in this regard.
Essential Overview: The Good and the Bad of the 2-Con
- Conduction and convection heating
- Heaters can be used independently
- Decent raw performance
- Replaceable 21700 battery
- Adjustable bowl size
- Modding potential (different ball types, etc)
- Cheaply built
- Quality control issues
- Not ideal for beginners
- Glass components are too thin
- WPA is made from aluminium
The Decision Matrix: Deliberating the Purchase of the 2-Con
If you're an enthusiast who enjoys tinkering and has some money to spare, the 2-Con might be up your alley, especially given there's certainly some potential for modding and DIY with the 2-Con. However, recommending this device to a casual or beginner vaporizer user is quite challenging. For those willing to dive deep into it, the 2-Con does hold potential, particularly in terms of its raw performance when used with some decent glass.
As previously mentioned, there's a lot of potential in the concept, but its execution falls short, especially in terms of material choices, quality control, and overall build quality. You find yourself wanting to love the 2-Con, but it just doesn't quite make the cut. End Game Labs has shown enough creativity here to make it worth keeping an eye on them, but with this particular model, they haven't quite hit their target.